Schools react to teachers unions asking for an end to active shooter drills

KNWA

In the state of Arkansas, all schools must conduct an active shooter drill — so KNWA asked local schools in our area what they think about this.

FARMINGTON, Ark. (KNWA) — The largest teachers unions in the country are urging schools to stop active shooter training.

They are claiming these drills may cause more harm than good.

In the state of Arkansas, all schools must conduct an active shooter drill — so KNWA asked local schools in our area what they think about this.

At the end of the day when seconds count our first responders are minutes away, and so we have to do things to help students and staff of that school to survive those minutes.

JOHN LUTHER, WASHINGTON COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

The nation’s largest education unions — the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association — are calling on schools to rethink the use of lockdown drills.

They said these drills haven’t been proven effective and may traumatize some students.

KNWA talked to a concerned parent a couple of weeks ago when a school surprised children with an active shooter drill. She said this makes some children experienced fear or trauma because they can’t tell if the drill is the real thing.

Washington County’s Emergency Services Director John Luther does all the active shooter training with schools in Washington County.

He said overall the students and teachers respond very well.

“Yeah it’s going to scare the children, but it’s going to scare them worse if they’re ill-prepared when an incident happens,” he said. “If you want a scared child, send them to SAT and ACT testing without preparing them, and send them to a ball game without practice.”

That’s going to show you the same results not training for hazardous situations in schools is going to do.

JOHN LUTHER, WASHINGTON COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Ninety-five percent of American public schools do regular active shooter safety drills, according to the National Center for Education Statistics — the Farmington School District is included in that.

Farmington High School

Farmington High School Principal Jon Purifoy said the schools do active shooter drills twice a year.

He said during the drills, students are very relaxed.

“It’s worth it because it’s kinda like anything else, you can’t just go out there and hope that they know what to do,” he said. “They’re going to be scared no matter what.”

“It’s very important,” Farmington High School Senior Joshua Jowers said. “It makes me feel a little safer that we have a plan and that we practice it.”

At the end of the day, although these drills may be scary, they feel not being prepared would be worse.

“I feel that we are as equipped as we can be,” Jowers said.

“We’ve got a pretty good plan in place and hopefully we will never have to use it,” Purifoy said.

Luther said these drills aren’t intended to cause fear, but to give the students and staff a way to be as prepared as they possibly can.

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